Bernard St. George Collard

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Vice-Admiral Bernard St. George Collard, C.B.D.S.O., R.N., Retired (27 February, 1876 – 12 April, 1962) was an officer of the Royal Navy.

Early Life & Career

Collard was admitted to the July 1890 intake term at H.M.S. Britannia, ranking last of fifty-seven candidates in order of merit on his examinations.[1] Perhaps indicative of his luck or his wisdom, whilst in his second term at Britannia Collard and fellow cadet Colin MacLean were wandering in the countryside and pursued a snake in the belief that it was a harmless grass-snake when it was in actual fact an adder. Collard caught the snake and was bitten. MacLean sucked the poison out the wound and carried Collard back to the ship, where he nearly died.[2]

Collard was rated Midshipman on 15 November, 1892.

He was appointed Acting Sub-Lieutenant on 15 May, 1896.

Collard was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 15 November, 1897.

He qualified as an Interpreter in French.

Collard was appointed to the Royal Naval Barracks, Portsmouth on 20 March, 1905. A possible foreshadowing of Collard's difficulty in effectively communicating to men might be embodied in disturbances of stokers' there in the first week of November 1906 which apparently were triggered by Lieutenant Collard ordering stokers to "Take a knee" before hearing a mild reproach on their noisiness. It is hard to say whether Collard's manner of delivering this unwelcome rebuke was more at fault than the Barracks' Commodore, The Hon. Walter George Stopford's own follow-up in which he called the stokers he blamed their "stupidity" for the disruption, as they were unfamiliar with so common order as this.[3] It is perhaps illuminating to note that Collard was superseded at the Barracks immediately in the aftermath, dated 13 November, and sent for a year to Excellent for gunnery duties.

On 5 December 1907, Collard was appointed to Glory as first and gunnery officer, where he remained until 20 April, 1909.

On 30 June, 1909, Collard was promoted to the rank of Commander.[4]

Great War

Collard remained in Intelligence Division until 3 April, 1915, when he was appointed to Queen Elizabeth for disembarkation duties at the Dardanelles, and to Lord Nelson for the same duty on 15 May. He ceased this duty on 23 June. On 30 June, 1915, he was promoted to the rank of Captain, and on 10 August he was appointed to President to assist the Director of Intelligence Division, where he remained until 16 November, when he was appointed in command of the monitor Lord Clive.

He remained in command of Lord Clive until January, 1918, when he was appointed Deputy Director of Operations Division (H) at the Admiralty. For operations on the Belgian coast he was appointed a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O.) on 26 April.[5]


Collard was superseded in the Operations Division on 5 February, 1920, having been surveyed by the Medical Director-General and found unfit on 26 January. He was found fit on 26 April, then went on half pay.

At the beginning of 1921 he was appointed to the Senior Officers' Technical Course and then to the Senior Officers' War Course. On 6 September he was appointed to Vivid for command of Colossus and the Boys' Training Establishment, Portland.

He was superseded on 31 March, 1922, and appointed to President for duty at the Admiralty. On 18 April he assumed duty as Director of the Gunnery Division of the Naval Staff.

Superseded in the Gunnery Division on 25 April, 1924, Collard was appointed in command of Royal Sovereign on the same day. He was superseded on 14 September, 1925.

Flag Rank

He was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral on 8 July, 1926. From October onwards he took both parts of the Senior Officers' Technical Course and then the Senior Officers' War Course once again.

On 1 October, 1927, he was appointed Rear-Admiral in the First Battle Squadron of the Mediterranean Fleet, and assumed command on 7 November, flying his flag in the battleship Royal Oak, with Kenneth Dewar as his Flag Captain.

Royal Oak Affair

The Board decided on 16 April that the blame for the Royal Oak affair was chiefly attributable to Collard, and that he should be retired upon the termination of his foreign service leave. He was accordingly placed on the Retired List on 22 April, under the provisions of the Order in Council of 21 April, 1922. He was advanced to the rank of Vice-Admiral on the Retired List on 1 April, 1931.[6]


  • "Vice-Adml. B. St. G. Collard" (Obituaries). The Times. Friday, 13 April, 1962. Issue 55365, col B, p. 15.
  • Smith, Vice-Admiral Humphrey Hugh, D.S.O. (1936). An Admiral Never Forgets: Reminiscences of thirty-seven years on the active list of the Royal Navy. London: Seeley, Service & Co. Limited.

Service Records

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Charles H. McMullin
Captain of H.M. T.B. 64
15 Jun, 1897 – 12 Jul, 1897
Succeeded by
Theodore E. J. Bigg
Preceded by
Douglas E. R. Brownrigg
Captain of H.M.S. Starfish
16 Jul, 1901[7]
Succeeded by
Edward Walker
Preceded by
George R. B. Blount
Captain of H.M.S. Lord Clive
16 Nov, 1915[8] – Jan, 1918[9]
Succeeded by
Reginald J. N. Watson
Preceded by
Francis A. Clutterbuck
Captain of H.M.S. Colossus
6 Sep, 1921[10] – 31 Mar, 1922[11]
Succeeded by
Kenneth N. Humphreys
Preceded by
Frederic C. Dreyer
Director of the Gunnery Division
18 Apr, 1922[Citation needed] – 25 Apr, 1924[Citation needed]
Succeeded by
Humphrey T. Walwyn
Preceded by
William R. Napier
Captain of H.M.S. Royal Sovereign
25 Apr, 1924[12] – 14 Sep, 1925[Citation needed]
Succeeded by
Barry E. Domvile
Preceded by
David T. Norris
Rear-Admiral in the First Battle Squadron
1 Oct, 1927[13]
Succeeded by
William M. Kerr


  1. "Cadetships In The Royal Navy." The Times (London, England), Tuesday, Jul 01, 1890; pg. 8; Issue 33052.
  2. Smith. p. 24.
  3. "Rioting at Portsmouth Naval Barracks." The Times (London, England), Wednesday, Nov 07, 1906; pg. 11; Issue 38171.
  4. The Navy List. (March, 1913). p. 16.
  5. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30654. p. 5058. 26 April, 1918.
  6. The London Gazette: no. 33706. p. 2332. 10 April, 1931.
  7. "The Naval Manoeuvres." The Times (London, England), Thursday, July 11, 1901, Issue 36504, p.8.
  8. The Navy List. (November, 1917). p. 395f.
  9. Collard Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 277.
  10. Collard Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 277.
  11. Collard Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 277.
  12. The Navy List. (July, 1924). p. 266.
  13. "Naval and Military" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Wednesday, 17 August, 1927. Issue 44662, col B, p. 19.